6 Books to Read About a Character Facing a Mental Illness

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family.” To finish out May as mental health awareness month, try one of these fiction books below that follow a character facing a mental illness.

We Are Not Ourselves book coverWe Are Not Ourselves
by Matthew Thomas
Following the independent Eileen as she builds a life for herself in Queens during the later 20th century, a surprise diagnosis given to her husband at 51 disorients their life. The star reviews for this 2015 give special attention to the vibrant portrayal of Eileen and her strength.
The Art of Falling book coverThe Art of Falling
by Kathryn Craft
28-year-old Penelope Sparrow is a dancer on the rise, when she falls fourteen stories and is now in the hospital recovering. Was it suicide? Was it an accident? Penelope doesn’t even know. What she does know is she must come to terms with a new life and face her disordered eating head-on.

 

Hausfrau book cover Hausfrau
by Jill Alexander Essbaum
Anna is an American who has been living with her Swiss husband in Switzerland for nine years. With little knowledge of the language she has become isolated and is beginning to spiral out of control, when a tragic event causes the possibility that she might just tip over.
Regeneration book coverRegeneration
by Pat Barker
Dr. William Rivers is a psychiatrist helping shell-shocked British soldiers acclimate to coming home from World War I. However, the more he works with the soldiers the more he realizes there might be something bigger than “shell shock” going on.

 

Every Shallow Cut book coverEvery Shallow Cut
by Tom Piccirilli
Life has spiraled for Piccirilli’s unnamed narrator. He is leaving behind a once promising, now fizzled literary career, a foreclosed house, and a broken marriage to trek across America to see his estranged brother with only his bulldog for company.
This intimate story begins with 16-year-old Deborah heading to the hospital after self-harming herself. There, she is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and begins the slow journey of understanding herself.